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Drinks in the nurses station...

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Specializes in Med Surg, ER, OR.

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This is a response from OSHA as to this question.

"OSHA does not have a general prohibition against the consumption of beverages at hospital nursing stations. However, OSHA's bloodborne pathogens standard prohibits the consumption of food and drink in areas in which work involving exposure or potential exposure to blood or other potentially infectious material takes place, or where the potential for contamination of work surfaces exists [29 CFR 1910.1030(d)(2)(ix)]. Also, under 29 CFR 1910.141(g)(2), employees shall not be allowed to consume food or beverages in any area exposed to a toxic material. While you state that beverages at the nursing station might have a lid or cover, the container may also become contaminated, resulting in unsuspected contamination of the hands.

The employer must evaluate the workplace to determine in which locations food or beverages may potentially become contaminated and must prohibit employees from eating or drinking in those areas. An employer may determine that a particular nurse's station or other location is separated from work areas subject to contamination and therefore is so situated that it is not reasonable under the circumstances to anticipate that occupational exposure through the contamination of food and beverages or their containers is likely. The employer may allow employees to consume food and beverages in that area, although no OSHA standard specifically requires that an employer permit this. OSHA standards set minimum safety and health requirements and do not prohibit employers from adopting more stringent requirements."

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We have a small drink area in my department. I don't think it is JACHO that mandates no drinks at the nurses station, I think it is the Public Health Department rules.:cheers:

Joint Commission doesn't care about drinks in the nurse's station as long as their covered. If anyone says no, it's OSHA, and we're allowed them. Management will use Joint Commission as the excuse for any rule they come up with.:uhoh3:

You are correct. OSHA has a problem with beverages in patient care areas. We however are not allowed drinks because if OSHA would come through for an inspection and find any beverage present covered or not, shut the entire medical facility down for this type of infraction.

However, as other have mentioned, eating and drinking in patient care areas is not viewed as being professional by patients an families.

sailornurse

Specializes in ER/Tele, Med-Surg, Faculty, Urgent Care. Has 39 years experience.

[quote name=osha has a problem with beverages in patient care areas. we however are not allowed drinks because if osha would come through for an inspection and find any beverage present covered or not, shut the entire medical facility down for this type of infraction.

i have read all the posts so far. i have worked in many facilities where i was told no drinks and the closest water fountain was at the end of the hall on the opposite unit. the last nm that told me it was an infection control issue could not give me an anwer to my question," so how come it's ok for patients and families to eat in the patients room? are you saying that the germs are going to jump into my beverage but not into the patient's water pitcher? i pointed out that the pitcher and matching plastic cups were never washed even if the patient was there for months. i like to change the straws each shift. there are worse problems such as the full urinals that are placed by patients on the overbed tables-we should be cleaning table tops, nurses stations areas, med carts, phones with disenfectants. so now when i am teaching and checking on students on different units, i just carry my (small)water bottle in my cargo pants. the other point has been made that at night, many of us eat at the nurses station as it would be unsafe staffing if people left to eat in the break room, so then that's ok with administration? it's what ever is convenient for the "suits":cheers::cheers:

mianders, RN

Specializes in ER, Infusion therapy, Oncology. Has 13 years experience.

No drinks at the nurses station is not a JCAHO, OSHA or Dept. Health rule. There only requirement is you do not have food or drink in patient care areas. It is up to each facility to determine what areas are considered pt. care.

buggal1989

Specializes in ER, ICU, Infection Control. Has 18 years experience.

No drinks at the nurses station is not a JCAHO, OSHA or Dept. Health rule. There only requirement is you do not have food or drink in patient care areas. It is up to each facility to determine what areas are considered pt. care.

UR right also - as stated it's "in patient care areas where contamination could occur". Hence once our Nurses STOPPED putting specimens in the Nurses station I felt it was ok for them to drink at the station (unless it was JC time approaching and then I "encouraged" them to stop - the break room was right across from the station, so give me a break!) - BUT now JC may stop in at ANY MINUTE, so we must be on our toes every minute - which one of you wants to get the hospital a Type !???? My biggest concern was spills on the charts - illegible charts can cause law suits. AND how many of you remember blood stained lab slips on the patients chart????? ICK! I had to provide page protectors although I told them dried blood that would not flake of was NOT going to infect them! Now in the Lab at the Lab benches - ugh! No way Hosea - I had to patrol the area often to prevent infractions. BUT, most JC Surveyors are really "old school" and still enforce the no drinks at the Nurses Station - so it's a catch 12 - you are going to get into trouble no matter WHAT you do. I wish I could offer a definitive solution to this problem, but it's like opening a can of worms - each entity thinks the other entity prohibits it so each entity prohibits it themselves! Get a worm wangler!:w00t:

Oh, this is about a bad as being asked to look at Nurse's shoes and bless them out if they were any color but WHITE. No tell me - where does Infection Control come into play - and who the heck cares if your laces are not white? Unless the red is BLOOD!

[quote=osha has a problem with beverages in patient care areas. we however are not allowed drinks because if osha would come through for an inspection and find any beverage present covered or not, shut the entire medical facility down for this type of infraction.

the other point has been made that at night, many of us eat at the nurses station as it would be unsafe staffing if people left to eat in the break room, so then that's ok with administration? it's what ever is convenient for the "suits":cheers::cheers:

as a night shifter, i have worked where you could eat at the nurses station for the sake of safe staffing, and have never gotten sick because i washed my hands before i ate anything and i didn't put food in places that seemed risky for contamination. it's a matter of simple common sense. now where i work i can only have a drink in a covered bottle and i suffer lots of nights from shakiness because i can't get down to the lounge to eat anything in a 12 1/2 hour shift. i think it's a little on the inhumane side to not allow a nurse to eat anything night after night, myself. how do we get osha to care about that?

You must be in management where you sit in your nice little office with your "allowed" drinks and also able to leave and get breakfast/lunch/dinner anytime you want. I have worked a whole 12 hour shift and not had a drop to eat or drink let alone PEED. I have worked on a floor where the manager wouldn't allow it Give me a break! A bottle of water at the desk isn't going hurt anyone. Stop being so worried about the image of the nursing station.

buggal1989

Specializes in ER, ICU, Infection Control. Has 18 years experience.

You must be in management where you sit in your nice little office with your "allowed" drinks and also able to leave and get breakfast/lunch/dinner anytime you want. I have worked a whole 12 hour shift and not had a drop to eat or drink let alone PEED. I have worked on a floor where the manager wouldn't allow it Give me a break! A bottle of water at the desk isn't going hurt anyone. Stop being so worried about the image of the nursing station.

I had one of these "easy" management jobs until I had to take a medical retirement partially due to the high stress of that job and believe me I worked MANY 10 to 12 or more hr days and unlike you I WAS NOT paid for this additional time. I frequently had to skip lunch to handle a problem or meet an employee's need (despite scheduled hours for Employee Health) who wandered in at any time they felt like, even as you had your coat on and were leaving - now I did not mind accommodating legit reasons (I've been there) - but when you had been up to that floor 2 or more times that day and have seen that employee taking a break - I am talking feet put up and drinking a coke and gossiping about the patients (did I mention call lights were going off and phones ringing? I'm all for your 2 15minute breaks, but not when there is work to be done) and you have also passed that same employee at least 3 times outside smoking a cigarette and when you come back through 15 minutes later that same employee is still there and they say "I just didn't have time." it becomes a little irritating. And how hard was it to walk another 100 (wild guess) to get to the EH office or take a short trip down to my office? These were frequent fliers as we use to call them in the ER. Now I have worked 12 hour shifts where your partner takes off for a break and comes back 2 hours later when you push the code button because their patient (which fortunately you were keeping a very close eye on) is crashing and this is a routine practice and "telling" means you are blackballed and try to work at a small hospital then and because of this employee you begged any wanderer who slipped in to see something exciting going on (like get real!) to keep an eye out while you race to the bathroom and tinkle as fast as you can. My hubbie is still impressed at how fast I can tinkle, wash my hands (OF COURSE) and be out of the bathroom. Old habits die hard. It has taken me 5 years to actually not gulp my food down like a starving rhino! So just remember those "easy desk jobs" are not as easy as they seem (did I mention the mountain of paperwork????)! :redpinkhe

jojotoo, RN

Specializes in Emergency.

there should be no drinks at the nurses station

where everyone can be seen drinking

like seeing a cop at Krispy Kreme donuts

very unprofessional

doesnt look good at all

Why would the public think that it was unprofessional to see me drink a cup of coffee or a bottle of water?

UM Review RN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Utilization Management.

I always thought it a tad ironic that we weren't allowed a closed drink at the nurse's desk, then we go put food trays on patients' bedside tables, where the urinals are often found right next to their water glass.

Patti 2nd gen RN

Specializes in L&D, medsurg,hospice,sub-acute.

I had one of these "easy" management jobs until I had to take a medical retirement partially due to the high stress of that job and believe me I worked MANY 10 to 12 or more hr days and unlike you I WAS NOT paid for this additional time. I frequently had to skip lunch to handle a problem or meet an employee's need (despite scheduled hours for Employee Health) who wandered in at any time they felt like, even as you had your coat on and were leaving - now I did not mind accommodating legit reasons (I've been there) - but when you had been up to that floor 2 or more times that day and have seen that employee taking a break - I am talking feet put up and drinking a coke and gossiping about the patients (did I mention call lights were going off and phones ringing? I'm all for your 2 15minute breaks, but not when there is work to be done) and you have also passed that same employee at least 3 times outside smoking a cigarette and when you come back through 15 minutes later that same employee is still there and they say "I just didn't have time." it becomes a little irritating. And how hard was it to walk another 100 (wild guess) to get to the EH office or take a short trip down to my office? These were frequent fliers as we use to call them in the ER. Now I have worked 12 hour shifts where your partner takes off for a break and comes back 2 hours later when you push the code button because their patient (which fortunately you were keeping a very close eye on) is crashing and this is a routine practice and "telling" means you are blackballed and try to work at a small hospital then and because of this employee you begged any wanderer who slipped in to see something exciting going on (like get real!) to keep an eye out while you race to the bathroom and tinkle as fast as you can. My hubbie is still impressed at how fast I can tinkle, wash my hands (OF COURSE) and be out of the bathroom. Old habits die hard. It has taken me 5 years to actually not gulp my food down like a starving rhino! So just remember those "easy desk jobs" are not as easy as they seem (did I mention the mountain of paperwork????)! :redpinkhe

You are the kind of management person we used to have--someone who cares and works hard--but--BUT---your breed is few and far between--lately all we have is paper-pushers who misrepresent reality, manipulate folks so they look good themselves to the corporate office, and generally show they don't give a damn about individuals..I have to agree--you are the exception--the generalization above is my experince of the current average/norm

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